Belligerent And Other Trending Words On

From Kpop idols to California weed growers, here are the news stories that had you asking, “Hey, what does that word mean?” during the week of August 17–24, 2018.


South Korean Kpop group BTS is known for its mix of English and Korean in its songs, spurring curiosity from fans on either side of the language divide. The band’s latest music video, IDOL, is a collaboration with Nicki Minaj and a trending word hit both. The video release helped spike searches 55% for idol. The word means any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion.

WATCH: How K-pop Is Brilliantly Using Language

Find out which word BTS helped trend earlier this month! 


From the looks of searches, plenty of folks left theaters after watching BlacKkKlansman and pulled up their app to double-check the meaning of at least one word in actor Alec Baldwin’s opening monologue. Baldwin, who plays a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the Spike Lee film, makes reference to miscegenation, a term that describes “marriage or cohabitation between two people from different racial groups.”


Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and current lawyer for President Donald Trump, made headlines over the weekend when he told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd that “truth isn’t truth,” but it was his later clarification of what he meant that sent searches soaring on Giuliani called his comment a “pontification,” which resulted in a 622% spike in the word. To pontificate means “to speak or behave in a pompous or dogmatic manner.”


Singer Gretchen Wilson made headlines for an arrest in Connecticut August 21. The “Redneck Woman” singer was said to be belligerent during an altercation at the Bradley International Airport. Belligerent, which climbed in searches by 241%, means “of warlike character; aggressively hostile.”


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un scored a spot on the trending word list thanks to a New York Times article that appeared on Monday, quoting the dictator’s distaste with what he (or at least an English translator) referred to as “brigandish sanctions” put in place by the United States. Searches for brigandish were up 347% that day, as folks learned it means “to act like a bandit, especially one of a band of robbers in mountain or forest regions.”


Sad news out of Iowa is responsible for one word trend this week: Searches for accosted climbed 530% as Iowa police released the name of a man they have charged with the death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts. A 24-year-old named Cristhian Bahena Rivera is alleged to have accosted Tibbetts while she was out jogging. He’s now facing a first-degree murder charge. Accosted is the past tense of accost, which means “to approach boldly.”


Fine wines are known by the name of the region where they originate. Could cannabis growers soon get the same treatment? The suggestion that some California growers are looking to create “appellation of origin” designations helped boost searches for appellation by 597% this week. What’s an appellation by any other name? Well, it’s a name!

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